It is shown that the lift-drag ratio of tip-coupled systems can be expressed as a simple multiple of the lift-drag ratio of the isolated units comprising the system. When operated for maximum lift-drag ratio, the extent of the coupled system is limited by maximum lift coefficient, high-altitude engine characteristics, and degraded performance of the isolated unit climbing to couple into the system. When operated at constant altitude, the gain from coupling is severely limited. If the cruise altitude is that for best performance of the isolated unit, the system lift-drag ratio can be no better than twice that of the isolated unit even when an infinite number of units are coupled. System performance may be further degraded since span-load distributions which yield good performance for the individual units reduce the efficiency of the coupled system. Coupling a pair of modern transport aircraft results in only about half the expected gain because of a poor span-distribution across the coupled pair. The control deflections required to maintain roll and pitch equilibrium further degrade the possible gain.